The UK Government has tightened the time for the building industry to comply with new climate change regulations, Housing and Planning Minister Yvette Cooper announced today.

Transitional arrangements have been cut from the usual maximum of three years to just 12 months to speed up take up of the regulations to maximise their impact on climate change.

All new buildings without full building plans approved by 6 April must comply with the new Part L building regulations from 6 April 2006, which increase the energy efficiency of new buildings by 20 per cent from April, and by 40 per cent since 2002.

These regulations have already been brought in two years ahead of schedule. Yvette Cooper said: "Tackling climate change is one of the biggest long-term challenges we face. That is why on this occasion we need the building industry to comply with the new regulations much more rapidly than normal.

"These new regulations, combined with those in 2002, deliver a 40 per cent increase in energy efficiency standards in just four years, and cut householders' fuel bills too."

The normal transitional arrangements for new building regulations last for up to three years. The last time that Part L was updated in 2002 the building industry had three years from the lodging of plans in which to commence work under the transitional arrangements. Building work which has already received full building plans approval where work has not yet started will need to begin before 1 April 2007 rather than the usual three year period in order to be covered by the transitional arrangements this time.

Smaller building works that have not started before 6 April which do not require full building plans approval will need to comply straight away unless contracts have already been signed. Where contracts have been entered into before 6 April, they will need to commence work within 6 months to be covered by the transitional arrangements. This will ensure that smaller builders and householders who may not be fully aware of the technical changes are not unreasonably affected.